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HIV infections rates fall by a third in gay men

Bobby Rae February 3, 2017

New HIV infections have fallen by a third in England since 2015, it has been revealed.

The new results were preliminary figures released by all sexual health clinics in the country for 2016 and followed similar reports from four London clinics in December.

It’s believed that part of the drop could be down to people buying medicines online, against medical advice.

The information was presented by Public Health England who said that until last year just over half of new HIV infections were in gay men.

Valerie Delpech from Public Health England, told the New Scientist: “Provisional data suggests that HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men in England has fallen, although it is not possible to confirm this at a national level until all data for 2016 have been received.”

The magazine reports that the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has grown in recent years and could be part of the reason for the drop.

PrEP can prevent a person from contracting HIV even when a condom is not used during sex.

It is not currently available on the NHS and often people pay as much as £400 a month to get it online.

Official advice states that “medicines purchased in this way could have the wrong active ingredient, no active ingredient, or an incorrect dosage,” with a spokesman adding that drugs are “prescription only for good reason.”

Experts have also said that more active testing and the taking of HIV medication as soon as someone is diagnosed are factors.

More: drop in rates, England, HIV, London, new scientist

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